The Theta blockchain is one of the best examples of how blockchain technology can work for the benefit of the consumer.
Not only data storage, NFT, and investment project — this decentralized platform primarily provides video streaming with the help of tens of thousands of users. It’s like a torrent, but users can receive bonuses and local currency for watching and streaming videos.
The founders of the blockchain are Mitch Liu and Jieyi Long. Mitch Liu graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford Graduate School of Business. But at first, he got into Counter-Strike, got involved in the video game industry, and soon got into mobile game development and mobile advertising. In particular, in 2010, he founded Gameview Studios, which develops mobile games and shows almost 100 million downloads — six months after the launch it was acquired by the Japanese DeNA.
Together with Jieyi Long, an expert in the virtual world streaming technologies, Mitch Liu founded SLIVER.tv in 2015, a platform for watching, recording, and playing eSports in 360° VR.
In 2017, SLIVER.tv announced the creation of a subsidiary, Theta Labs, which will focus on Theta blockchain with a democratic ecosystem, its own Theta token, and a decentralized video content delivery network.
Theta, the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet. In ancient times, its image could symbolize death (Ancient Greece), the human soul, or the Cosmos (Egypt).
Video Content Is The Engine Of The Entertainment Industry
More than half of the modern entertainment industry, analysts say, is video content. And it is unlikely that soon it will give up its leadership to museums, books, or theater. At the same time, the share of Internet video in this segment is constantly growing and at the end of 2020 reached 67% of total video traffic on the global network.
It’s not surprising that when Theta Token was announced for an ICO in February 2018, the platform attracted $20 million in investment (including from Samsung and Sony venture capital funds) and patronage from YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and Twitch co-founder Justin Kan. At the same time, token sales were managed by the influential Danhua Capital, whose managing director, Dovey Wan, made an unequivocal statement:
Theta has the opportunity to become the dominant decentralized network that powers all video streaming for the next 20 years.
Initially, the creators of the platform focused on streaming eSports. In the process, they quickly realized the weaknesses of the modern industry engaged in video content streaming on a global scale.
First, this industry is based on large data centers around the world. Efficient data transfer between them and users is complicated not only by distances, but also by increasing requirements for video quality.
Second, because of the centralized nature of management, the costs of maintaining and developing the network in this industry are high, which affects the end-user.
A peer-to-peer distributed data network (P2P), in which loads can be distributed among many small nodes, can solve these problems, Theta developers believe. In particular, they believe that the content delivery cost can be halved, with an increase in the quality of transmission.
Similar To A Torrent
The conceptual proposal from the creators of Theta is to move video streaming to a decentralized network to provide better and more efficient video content streaming without the need for expensive network and centralized infrastructures like YouTube, Vimeo, or Netflix. At the same time, any user watching streaming video himself can become one of the data transmission nodes, for which he is entitled to a small reward. This is probably the easiest and most affordable type of partnership with Theta.
Technologically, you provide some of your idle computing resources to a data transmission system, which allows you to store encoded video content on your computer. On a global scale, it opens up the possibility of decentralized storage and transfer of data around the world without standard network resources — relying on a network of engaged users in the technology.
That is, like seeds and peers in a torrent, a user can become a temporary keeper of the video and distribute it to other viewers. At the same time, the globalization of the general Theta network (and there are already distributors even in Greenland) will help improve the quality of video in any corner of the world.
By the way, there are two cryptocurrencies in Theta — the already mentioned Theta Token is used for staking and as a reward for validators, and the second currency, Theta Fuel (TFuel), is intended as a reward for users taking part in content retransmission.
Step 1 — A Grateful Viewer
So, viewing is rewarded as a second TFuel blockchain cryptocurrency. In practice, it’s not that simple.
After registering on the site, find the orange Watch & Earn TFuel button. Click and watch. It would seem that you should already be earning. But hours of watching may pass (you can minimize the window, it affects nothing), but our cryptocurrency account still shows zeros, and a little lower on the screen, the XP is growing. These are our earned Experience Points. As the number of XP increases, so does your level — your online rating.
XP is supposed to turn into TFuel at some point since such unambiguous wording is used: watch and earn. But it’s not true. As the blockchain community says, experience points increase your level on the channel and give you a chance to get a reward as a result of a giveaway or during special promotion. But these benefits are distributed only among users with the highest level of XP. It is worth mentioning that the distribution of bonuses depends not only on the platform but also on the channel owners, so there is no standard approach here.
The easiest way to get to the top XP level is to buy experience for TFuel. Although this is hardly what you came here for. But if you want to have a high rating in the community, you can earn it for free by watching videos (1 XP per minute), taking part in predictions, chatting (spamming), etc.
There is also a non-obvious bonus for viewers — free video content. It is expected that these will be broadcasts of sports matches, during which it will be possible to make predictions and win bonuses, video game reviews, and in general any entertainment content.
In the meantime, streams of poker and video games, anime, and reviews of the cryptocurrency market prevail here. But there are also quite serious, even aesthetic channels, like NASA or Mystery Science Theater 3000. In the spring of 2021, a large American content distribution company Cinedigm started its blockchain streaming channels.
Step 2 — Repeater
As for the guaranteed earnings of TFuel, it has to be done differently. On the main website of this blockchain, in the Network section, you can download the Edge Node from Theta. It is developed for Windows, macOS, and Linux. By installing it on your computer, you become a participant in content distribution — automatically downloading and transcoding videos — and your participation in this is confirmed by the Proof-of-Uptime protocol. This registers the time spent online with the enabled node.
This uptime mining was introduced recently, in the spring of 2021. TFuel for it is not given out much, but you should consider that the activation of a node does not overload your computer, it uses free resources to work and no additional hardware is required. Although, the simplicity of such mining may well be tempting to leave all the computers in the office overnight.
The entire set of working Edge Nodes is a decentralized network of edge repeaters, Theta Edge Network, which captures live video, re-encode, and transmits peer-to-peer streams to users on Theta.tv. They are highlighted in yellow in the illustration below, and currently, there are over 130,000 of them worldwide.
The Theta Edge Network features a protocol that validates the legitimacy of the provision and consumption of video content by viewers and ensures transparency of interaction for advertisers.
Step 3 — The Guardian
Guardian is the third level of community involvement. The Guardian network on blockchain was implemented in 2019. In the illustration above, it is blue. To become a guardian, you need to download a not very demanding Guardian Node to your computer and lock 1000 Theta Tokens in the stake. These coins will also be a reward for the guardians.
These guardian nodes seal blocks and check for malicious or non-functional validator nodes. Guardian nodes play an important role in protecting the security of the Theta blockchain, as they form a second layer of protection against potential attackers.
On The Top
The first level of protection is a validators committee of 10-20 participants who provide a basic level of security and functioning of the blockchain. This is the Enterprise Validator level, whose nodes offer and create new blocks in the chain, which are subsequently completed by the Guardians.
Coordination at this level and the Guardian level is done using modified Byzantine fault tolerance and the Proof-of-Stake algorithm. Enterprise Validator nodes are primarily corporate and run by companies such as Samsung, Sony, Binance, Blockchain Ventures, gumi Cryptos, and Theta Labs. In June 2021, DHVC, which already manages $500 million in Theta, joined the Enterprise Validator network as a corporate external client.
Analysts estimate that large Theta Token holders have over 60% of the network tokens, which positively affects the stability of the currency in the face of market fluctuations, but also gives reason to think about the actual level of network decentralization.
And among the current corporate clients, we have to highlight the Creative Artist Agency, whose owner, pop star Katy Perry, plans to launch her NFT tokens on the Theta platform in December 2021.
I can’t wait to immerse myself with the Theta team in all the exciting and memorable creative pieces, so that my fans can have a special moment of my residency that is both a digital collectible and an IRL experience. Katy Perry
Not Just Videos
Yes, Theta is not only about video streaming, but also a popular NFT marketplace and smart contracts of Theta blockchain can serve developers to run DApps.
At the moment, the platform has very impressive quantitative indicators of the level of ecosystem development, the number of users involved in the community, and the dynamics of the exchange rate value of currencies. So, according to the CEO and co-founder of Theta, Mitch Liu, in March 2021, the computing power of Theta Network surpassed Intel Corporation.
All this, plus a serious technological base (blockchain owns several patents providing innovative solutions for decentralized video streaming), but first of all the popularity of video content among users, allow to single out blockchain as one of the most attractive, original, and promising platforms of the modern cryptocurrency market.
Of course, the development level of the network is not yet sufficient to seriously compete with such giants as YouTube or Netflix right now, but for Theta the current situation is only the beginning of the journey. The benefits that decentralized content streaming promises as improved quality and lower prices are guaranteed not to escape the attention of end-users. Viewers, advertisers, content producers, investors — there are already a lot of stakeholders to characterize the blockchain as at least promising.